Update: This article contains mentions of Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card whose terms have expired and are in the process of being updated. All other offers reflect accurate offer terms. Learn more about the current offers here.
With the new Marriott Bonvoy program having been launched in early 2019, Marriott has a new suite of credit cards that are being issued by both American Express and Chase.
While the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is Marriott’s $95 annual fee card, they also have the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card, which has no annual fee. I wanted to take a closer look at that card in this post, especially as it currently has an increased sign-up bonus.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card Basics For April 2020
A lot of people go out of their way to only get no annual fee cards, though often you’re forgoing significant benefits when you choose one of those cards over a premium card. That’s why the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card is so interesting, since it’s still fairly rare to see no annual fee hotel cards with valuable benefits.
Is this card right for you, and who should be getting this card over one of Marriott’s premium credit cards? Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about this card.
30,000 Marriott Bonvoy Point Welcome Bonus
The Bonvoy Bold Card is offering a welcome bonus of 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $1,000 within the first three months of card membership. I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, so to me those points are worth ~$210. For a no annual fee credit card that’s a solid bonus.
Redeem your Bonvoy points at the EDITION Abu Dhabi
Given how many American Express and Chase Marriott cards there are at this point, there are some pretty complicated restrictions in place regarding eligibility for this card.
The card is not available to those who are:
- current cardmembers of the Marriott Bonvoy Premier credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier), Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier Plus), Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card, or
- previous cardmembers of the Marriott Bonvoy Premier credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier), Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card (also known as Marriott Rewards Premier Plus), or Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card, who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.
Furthermore, the welcome bonus isn’t available to you if you:
- are a current cardmember, or were a previous cardmember within the last 30 days, of Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express);
- are a current or previous cardmember of either Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card), and received a new cardmember bonus or upgrade bonus in the last 24 months; or
- applied and were approved for Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card) within the last 90 days.
Chase’s 5/24 Rule
Chase has what’s known as the 5/24 rule. This means that if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months you typically won’t be approved for this card. So if you do apply for this card, make sure you’re under that limit.
No Annual Fee
The Marriott Bold Card has no annual fee. You can’t beat not paying an annual fee on a card! You even can add additional card members at no extra cost.
Earning Points With The Marriott Bold Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card has some bonus categories, though this isn’t a card that I would be using for my everyday spending.
Back in the day the co-branded Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards were among the best for everyday spending. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case with Marriott cards, given the 1:3 conversion of points, which has changed the value proposition of the card.
3x Points At Marriott Hotels
The card offers 3x Bonvoy points for spending at Marriott-family hotels globally. For many people this will be a worthwhile bonus.
Since I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, that’s the equivalent of a ~2.1% return on hotel spending. Note that other co-branded Marriott cards offer 6x points, so while this is better than nothing, it’s not the best credit card for spending at Marriott hotels.
You can earn 3x points for stays at Marriott hotels
3x Points On Travel
The card offers 2x points on all travel purchases. This includes everything from trains to taxis to car rentals to flights. While it’s nice that they offer bonus points for this, that’s still only a return of ~1.4%, by my valuation.
1x Points On All Other Purchases
The card offers 1x points on all other eligible purchases. This is a really bad return on spending, as that’s the equivalent of a ~0.7% return on spending, by my valuation. Other cards are much better for everyday spending, and offer a return of 2% or more.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The Bonvoy Bold Card has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a good option for purchases abroad.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card Benefits
While the benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card aren’t as good as on the premium versions of the card, there still are some decent perks when you consider that this is a no annual fee card.
Complimentary Silver Elite Status
Just for having the card you receive Silver Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. Now, don’t get too excited, as this doesn’t exactly come with that many benefits. Silver Elite status ordinarily requires 10 elite nights, and comes with the following perks:
- 10% bonus points on hotel stays
- Priority late check-out
- A dedicated reservations line
15 Elite Nights Towards Status Annually
Personally my favorite status perk for having this card is that you get 15 elite nights towards status annually just for having the card. Note that several co-branded Marriott credit cards offer this, and you can only receive the benefit once.
In other words, if you have three Marriott cards then you wouldn’t get 45 elite nights.
However, this really makes it more attainable to earn Platinum status, which is where status really gets valuable. Platinum status requires 50 nights, so if you have this card you’d only need to earn an additional 35 elite nights.
Platinum status gets you guaranteed late check-out, suite upgrades subject to availability at most properties, free breakfast at many brands, and more.
Platinum members receive space available suite upgrades
One of the great features of Chase cards is access to Chase Offers, which provides savings on purchases with all kinds of retailers. The program wasn’t launched that long ago, but has already saved me a significant amount of money.
Protection With Trip Delays, Lost Luggage, And More
The Bonvoy Bold Card offers a variety of protection, both when traveling and for other purchases. Among these features is:
- Trip Delay Reimbursement — if your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement — be reimbursed up to $3,000 per passenger if you or your immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by an airline
- Baggage Delay Insurance — be reimbursed up to $100 per day for five days for essential purchases when your bag is delayed by over six hours
- Purchase Protection — covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim, up to $50,000 per account
Make sure you check your cardmember agreement for all of the details, since there are terms & conditions.
Is The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card Worth It?
The way I view it, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card has a nice welcome bonus for a no annual fee card, and it’s also awesome that a no annual fee card offers 15 elite nights towards status annually with Marriott.
If you’re someone who would benefit from the fast track to elite status but absolutely doesn’t want to pay an annual fee, then I think this card is worth it.
But otherwise I think it’s worth getting one of Marriott’s credit cards with an annual fee instead, because I think the benefits more than justify the fees. Furthermore, this isn’t a good card for everyday spending.
Why You Should Get The $95 Annual Fee Bonvoy Boundless Card
If you’re going to pick up a Marriott card from Chase, I’d much rather get the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card instead. The card has a $95 annual fee, but for that you get a lot more benefits. On the most basic level, the card offers:
- A welcome bonus of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points upon completing minimum spending
- A free night award on your account anniversary every year, valid at a property costing up to 35,000 points per night
So not only is the bonus much better, but to me the free award night every year more than justifies the $95 annual fee, since you can easily redeem it at a hotel that usually costs $250+ per night.
The other thing is that you can always get the Boundless Card now, and if you don’t like it you can downgrade it to the no annual fee card after a year.
Why You Shouldn’t Transfer Points From Chase To Marriott
Marriott is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you could transfer points at a 1:1 ratio. For example:
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review), which offers 3x points on dining and travel
- The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review), which offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
- The Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), which in conjunction with one of the above cards earns 1.5x points on all purchases
In some cases this would be your best bet for earning Marriott points through credit card spending, since you can earn 3-5x points in select categories.
Even so, I wouldn’t recommend transferring Chase points to Marriott. Like I said, I value Marriott points at ~0.7 cents each, while you can instead transfer points at the same ratio to programs like World of Hyatt, where I value the points at ~1.5 cents each (more than times as much).
So while there are plenty of ways to earn Marriott points with credit cards, there aren’t many ways to do so at efficient or competitive rates.
There are better uses of Chase points than transferring to Marriott
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card Summary
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card is the only option for those looking for a no annual fee Marriott credit card. The fact that the card offers 15 elite nights towards status annually is generous.
However, beyond that I think getting one of Marriott’s premium credit cards instead is worthwhile. Personally I’d highly recommend getting the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card. It has a much better sign-up bonus, and offers an annual free night that more than justifies the annual fee. You can always give that card a try, and if you don’t like it you should be able to downgrade the card after a year.